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Some people love to work, some people love to vacation. Thankfully for us, Emma Russack loves to do both! The concept for Permanent Vacation - the fourth album from Melbourne-based singer-songwriter, Emma Russack - stems from a lack of guilt about not having a 'real job'. Emma explains, “I had some well-paying gigs last year, which meant that for 3 months I was literally just going to the beach, reading and lying in my parents' hammock - without feeling guilty.”
It was during this time on the New South Wales south coast, while sun tanning, that Emma struck pen to paper and wrote the majority of the songs for Permanent Vacation. Playing the same piano on which she learned as a child, you’ll hear her tinker away on the keys, from opening tear jerker “Migration” to the confessional “Free Things”, where Emma admits, “sometimes I wish I had a partner”, and on the haunting “The Way” - perhaps one of the most strikingly beautiful songs Emma has ever written. While instrumentation is noticeably pared back on this album, the song structures and tempos are as intricate and varied as ever; from the calypso feel of title track “Permanent Vacation” to the anthemic chorus of tongue-in-cheek single “Everybody Cares” where Emma dryly proclaims “everybody cares if I’m not at the party.”
Discussing the concept behind “Everybody Cares”, Emma explains: "Some people think that your friends aren't really going to miss you or be annoyed if you don't show up to some kind of social gathering that you've said you'd attend. I decided this couldn't possibly be true in my case - surely I am THAT much fun that everybody cares if I'm not at the party. Speculation? Certainly - but I like to think that's how it is.”
Overall, Permanent Vacation is a less confessional album than any of her previous works, In a New State (2016), You Changed Me (2014) or Sounds Of Our City (2012). Emma explains, "For the first time in a long time, the songs came out of contentment and reflection - as opposed to some kind of existential crisis or breakup.”
The album was recorded very quickly with producer John Lee, who worked on In a New State. Emma played all guitar and piano, and John played bass and drums. It was tracked in a mere 3 days, with minimal follow up work.
"Narrative strength and affectingly prosaic prose aren't easy songwriting targets to hit, but Emma Russack has them nailed" – 8/10 Uncut